Team WRT has scored a dominant victory in its full-season LMP2 debut in Sunday’s 4 Hours of Barcelona.
Ex-Formula 1 star Robert Kubica took the Belgian squad’s No. 41 Oreca 07 Gibson to a commanding 22.125-second win over the No. 65 Panis Racing entry of Gabriel Aubry in a fast-paced European Le Mans Series season-opener.
Having started on the outside of the front row, Louis Deletraz passed the pole-sitting No. 26 G-Drive Racing Aurus 01 Gibson of Roman Rusinov at the 20-minute mark as the Russian dropped to third.
While Deletraz opened up a hefty lead over the No. 22 United Autosports entry of Phil Hanson, co-driver Yifei Ye gained further time during his middle stints as their main competitors hit trouble.
Rusinov’s Algarve Pro Racing-run G-Drive entry faced two penalties, including one for “not respecting” the race start and causing collisions, initially dropping co-driver Franco Colapinto to fifth.
An additional drive-through was handed due to the young Argentinean hitting a tire during his pit exit in the second hour.
It gave clear sailing for the veteran GT3 outfit, in only its second prototype start, to take the convincing win, the first overall victory for a Belgian team in ELMS competition.
Nyck De Vries managed to finish fourth overall in the No. 26 Aurus, behind the No. 22 United Autosports Oreca of Jonathan Aberdein and Tom Gamble, who were unable to match co-driver Hanson’s pace from the opening stint.
United’s sister No. 32 Oreca finished ninth after an Nico Jamin suffered an off-course excursion on the opening lap.
LMP2 Pro-Am class honors went to the No. 29 Ultimate Oreca trio of Matthieu Lahaye, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye and Francois Heriau, which was classified fifth overall.
Lahaye was on track to a fourth place outright finish until getting passed by De Vries in the closing minutes.
Cool Racing came out on top in LMP3, thanks to a late pass for the class win by Matt Bell.
Bell drove the French squad’s No. 19 Ligier JS P320 Nissan to a 2.218-second victory after passing the No. 4 DKR Engineering Duqueine D08 Nissan of Alain Berg with 23 minutes to go.
Berg dropped to fifth at the checkered flag thanks in part to a hard-charging Malthe Jakobsen in the No. 15 RLR MSport Ligier, who closed the gap to the Englishman to finish second.
Bell shared top class honors with Nicolas Maulini and Niklas Kruetten.
Iron Lynx reigned supreme in GTE, with the No. 80 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Matteo Cressoni, Rino Mastronardi and Ferrari factory driver Miguel Molina taking top class honors.
Molina finished one lap ahead of the No. 77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR-19, which dropped back early but saw a late charge from Porsche young professional Jaxon Evans.
The No. 55 Spirit of Race Ferrari completed the class podium in third.
RESULTS: 4H Barcelona